When it comes to shopping for fresh produce and hard-to-find items, Joshua Siegel, the chef at The Park restaurant in Echo Park, skips the farmers markets and heads directly to Super King, the Glassell Park supermarket stockpiled with all manner of Middle Eastern products and fresh produce. But before you can get inside the San Fernando Road store to pick up blocks of feta cheese, zaatar spices and fava beans, customers must brave the overflowing Super King parking lot. In his most recent email newsletter, Siegel paints a picture of what to expect:
It all begins in the parking lot, if you can make it that far. The other day, I actually couldn’t get into the parking lot it was so full. You will find late model Mercedes parked next to ancient Toyotas. Scanning the parking lot you will see an ethnic mix that rivals the United Nations and it will be chaotic. Mostly you will see women, mostly older and you will think they are nice, but you need to have your wits about you. They will back their cars out right in front of you, they will cut you off with their shopping carts, they will block traffic into gridlock waiting for someone to leave a parking space. And they become even more aggressive once you actually get inside.
Unless you are in desperate need for grape leaves or tahini, avoid Thursday, when the start of weekly specials finds the Super King parking lot more crazed than usual and a line of waiting vehicles that spills out onto San Fernando Road and almost reaches the exit of the 2 Freeway